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Generally we use both these terms interchangeably:

Vrata (व्रत)

Upvasa (उपवास)

But, sometimes I feel there must be a difference, even if a minute one.

Like we famously refer Pitāmaha Bhīṣma as DevaVrata (देवव्रत), and not DevaUpavāsa (देव-उपवास).

From the perspective of a native Hindi speaker, Vrata seems more connected with an oath/vow - physical level, while Upavāsa sounds more related to internal and metaphysical vows, like we say 'Upāsanā (उपासना)'.

So, please explain if any difference exists between Vrata and Upavāsa.

Also, what's the esoteric significance of Vrata/Upavāsa?

It cannot just only mean - 'not eating food', because ways and rituals of Hinduism extends not just to physical, but mental, metaphysical and transcendental levels of explanations too.

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